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You can watch as local McGyvers go to work

How in the world do you build a vehicle powered by mousetraps? Or come up with a wild idea to make money in today's world?

Those are just a couple of the quandaries facing some of the metro-east's most creative young thinkers as they prepare for the Odyssey of the Mind state competition Saturday at Central Junior High in Belleville.

The competition for teams in catergories from kindergarten to high school begins at 8 a.m., with the final session beginning at 2 p.m. Admission is free to spectators.

Here are synopses for the six challenges the teams will be facing:

Problem 1: Extreme Mouse Mobiles. Teams are required to design, build and run vehicles that use mousetraps as their only source of energy. The vehicles will travel over a coure that presents various challenges.

Problem 2: As Good as Gold...berg. Teams will use an uncomplicated existing item to complete a real life task. Teams will create their own solutions in a performance that will include an inventor character and a marketing plan.

Prolem 3: A classical character must act as a tour guide in an original performance. During the tour, an inanimate object will show signs of life.

Problem 4: Unhinged structure. Teams must design and build a solution using balsa wood and glue that folds into the team's structure without coming apart. Another material may be used as a hinge. Each team will test its folded structure by placing as much weight as possible durng a performance that includes three different objects that change appearance by being folded or unfolded.

Problem 5: Full Circle. Teams will create a humorous performance in which something changes form or appearance at least three times, then undergoes a final change where it returns to the original form.

Primary Problem (for grades K-2): Create and present a humorous performance about a Money Maker character that tries to make money from wild idea. He will fail three times, but finally will succeed.

Local teams competing in the for the state championship in the various problems and divisions are:

* Belleville ISP

* Ellis Elementary School

* Montessori School

* Belleville West High School

* Prontiac Junior High

* Emge Junior High

* O'Fallon Township High School

State champions will compete in the international championships May 26-29 in College Park, Md.

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